A class 10 girl was killed after two AIADMK functionaries set her on fire in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu. Fifteen-year-old Jayasri died of severe burns on Monday but her dying declaration before the judicial magistrate led to the arrest of the two involved in the murder.
Embarrassed by the involvement of the two party functionaries in the crime, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami expelled the duo from the AIADMK and announced a compensation of Rs.5 lakh to the girl’s family.
According to police one of the two assailants -– Murugan -- had nursed a simmering enmity with Jayasri's father Jeyapal, who owned a small shop in Thiruvennainallur village. Last Saturday, some people came to the shop and assaulted Jeyapal’s son Jayaraj (16) on the pretext of buying beedis. Jeyapal and Jayaraj had gone to the local police station on Sunday to file a complaint about the incident. Taking advantage of their absence, two people barged into the house, tied Jayasri, poured petrol and set her ablaze.
The young girl screamed and the smoke came out of the house prompting the neighbours to rush into the house. They put out the fire and took her to the Villupuram Government Hospital by ambulance. Jayasri had sustained 90 per cent burns but managed to give a dying declaration, which was video recorded by the judicial magistrate on his mobile phone.
A few hospital staff members, too, recorded the same and circulated the little girl’s heart wrenching last words in which she keeps pleading for some water.
In the video, Jayasri named Murugan and identified him as the husband of the former panchayat councillor. She identified the other assailant as Kaliaperumal (though by his nickname).
Upon launching an enquiry, police found that Murugan, along with Kaliaperumal, had gone to Jeyapal’s house and found Jayasri alone. He tied her up and set her ablaze in an act of vengeance. The two were arrested and charged with attempt to murder. But when Jayasri succumbed to her burns on Monday they were charged for murder under IPC 302.
According to police, the two were already facing criminal charges for brutally attacking Jeypal’s brother Kumar in 2013 and had been threatening the family to withdraw the criminal case against them. The police ruled out any caste angle, saying the assailants and Jeyapal belonged to the same community.